The BBC is to move half of its network television production spending out of London within eight years, with more than £1 in £6 of its £900m budget to be spent in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland by 2016.

The shift will see Anne Robinson take her Weakest Link from London to Glasgow; CrimeWatch go to Cardiff and production of the Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows moved to Birmingham.

Jana Bennett, the broadcaster’s head of television, told the Financial Times that until now most efforts to spread television production to other parts of the country had been 'stop-start'.

'We have concentrated this plan on trying to prevent that stop-start cycle of development and production, because if you don’t have returning commissions, you start with a blank piece of paper next time you go back to that place and you have to begin the cycle all over again,' she said.

The move is driven by the BBC Trust’s requirement that it should produce more programmes in the regions in an attempt to boost its approval ratings outside London.

Financial Times